Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Sometime in America’s future, wiser heads will return to the concept of universal military service. Lifting “don’t ask, don’t tell” is an example of the public policy that comes when decision-makers have little or no understanding of the stresses of those on the front. In non-combat units, it’s manageable social engineering. While any love or sexual relationship is a distraction in non-combat units, it has the potential to change behaviors in ways that get people killed in front-line units. It’s no surprise that almost 60 percent of Marines objected to lifting the ban. Recruiting and retention are bound to suffer.
● Sometime in America’s future, too, we’ll come to realize that children aren’t play-pretties for adults who have run out of toys to buy, for celebrities who are making social or political statements or for young unmarried women who can’t come up with any other answer to the question, “Why did I get up this morning?” From conception, every child born in America has a right to a mother and a father in his or her life. That’s a pipe dream now, yes. But so was the idea that a majority of Americans would quit smoking.
● Before ObamaCare becomes central to our lives, pick any story on any topic related to government and read it for instruction on how well it manages its responsibilities. AJC headlines from a recent week: “Deportation cases backlog” with the subhead “Some court observers are doubtful new hires will have any effect.” Or, same day, “Special ed program lacks accountability, audit finds.” Or “More doctors could leave Medicare rolls” because of a dysfunctional reimbursement system. Government’s proficient at building roads and, when compared to our enemies, waging war. Or was until agenda-driven interest groups and politicians started messing with their heads.
● Nationally, the “Democrat” brand, as defined by Pelosi-Reid-Obama, has the brand-name appeal of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. The 111th Congress goes home having spent a year cramming through everything but a budget, in the process registering its lowest appeal in the history of Gallup polling, 13 percent. It’s no surprise, therefore, that some Democrats and Republican-turned-Independent Michael Bloomberg bemoan partisanship and meet to discuss a “No-Label” movement. When the brand becomes a liability, you drop it or change it — in the case of politics, to “nonpartisan” or “no-label.” It’s a movement to let wither on the vine in the new year.
● Another to let wither is the suggestion that Georgia abandon runoffs. When one party starts believing it can’t win a majority of the voters, the campaign to eliminate runoffs mysteriously rises anew, accompanied by much hand-wringing about “costs” to conduct runoff elections. We can afford honest elections and those that guarantee majority support.
● In the new year and with a new governor, Georgia should slow-walk the proposed “insurance exchanges” to be launched by ObamaCare in 2014. Do nothing concrete until after the 2012 elections. Republicans, incidentally, should always be careful to avoid defining their tax collector for the welfare state roles as a call to perfect the machinery of Big Government. Business and Republicans can have one thing in common: They fight the regulatory state, but then quickly learn to accommodate it. That’s the real danger with ObamaCare.
As the new year dawns, be of good cheer. Congress is home.